A Slice of Fried Gold

Forgetting Freaks and Geeks

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Since 2005's the 40 Year Old Virgin, Judd Apatow has become a household name more or less. He's produced/directed/written many massive hits, such as Superbad, Knocked Up, and Talladega Night, which have all made his star grow brighter and brighter. For the most part, his productions are superb and have led to a resurgence in both creativity and quality in the comedy genre. This can be greatly attributed to Apatow himself, but his successes can really be tied to one of his biggest failures: Freaks and Geeks.

Freaks and Geeks was a slice of life of 80's high school for the outcasts - the freaks and the geeks. Within this failed (but genius) dramedy was an electric cast and tons of talent. Seth Rogen of Knocked Up and Superbad, James Franco from the upcoming Pineapple Express and the Spider-Man franchise, and the subject of this blog post himself, Jason Segel, all came from that very show. The show was/is one of my all time favorites, and even with every critic on the planet bending over backwards to shower it with praise, it never clicked with audiences - until the DVD was released that is. Now it's well loved, but at the time it was another low rated, highly regarded dramedy.

Most everyone from Apatow's little modern day Rat Pack of comedians has found some level of success after F&G, and the newest one to do that is Jason Segel. This weekend the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall was released, and it both stars Segel and is written by him as well. The movie is a wonderful little ode to finding your way back from a broken heart and from finding out who you really can be in the process. I quite liked the movie (loved even) and found myself laughing throughout the whole of it, and the rest I was rapt with attention towards because I cared what happened to the characters. Neither the comedy nor the story would have worked nearly as well with someone besides Segel, who without ever having been the lead in anything managed to carry the weight of the film all upon his capable shoulders.

Now, after years of supporting roles (primarily as Marshall in the delightful sitcom How I Met Your Mother and in other Apatow productions like Knocked Up), Segel found a role that could carry him to the top and I couldn't be happier (Marshall opened at #2 in the box office - $17.4 million - not bad). His Nick Andropolis and Seth Rogen's Ken Miller were my two favorite characters in Freaks and Geeks, and their ascent to the A-List in Hollywood has been the one silver lining to come from the failure of the genius that was that show. So as much as I wish that show hadn't been cancelled, maybe everything worked out for the best.

I fully recommend Forgetting Sarah Marshall, although fairly crude at times, it is also very funny, touching, and it has puppets - I mean come on, who doesn't love puppets? It's worth it if only to see Segel's characters puppet rock opera about Dracula (and to hear Segel's awesome Dracula singing voice). Plus it's cast is incredible, with Segel, Kristen Bell, Bill Hader, Mila Kunis (hard to not fall in love with her in this), and Russell Brand rounding it out, along with small side roles for comic geniuses like Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, and Jack McBrayer. Go check it out, and rent Freaks and Geeks while you're at it. You'll wonder why you didn't watch it the first time around.


Patty said...

Love them Freaks and Geeks.

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